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Defensive Delay of Game!?! Did the Referees Cost Missouri Their Undefeated Streak?

Updated: Oct 7, 2023

The fans were on their feet throughout the game. Photo: Jermaine Dean

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels threw for four touchdowns and ran for another as the Tigers outlasted Mizzou in a high-scoring affair, 49-39, on Saturday at Faurot Field.

What many Mizzou fans will not forget about this game was the impact of the referee’s on the outcome.  Missed face mask and holding calls happen from time to time, but have you heard of a defensive delay of game?  Once is odd, but two in the same game may be a new record.

The penalty, called defensive delay of game, occurs when a defensive player makes a move that is not necessary and unlike football, such as faking an injury or trying to distract the offense. The penalty results in a five-yard loss and an automatic first down for the offense.

The second occurrence was the most bizarre. It’s when a Mizzou Defensive Back clapped. Could clapping be distracting yes, but how hard would one have to clap to distract the team when they are 5-8 yards off the ball in the backfield?

Scoreboards ablaze after Schrader puts Mizzou up 39-32 in the 4th Quarter.

Daniels threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns in the win. He also connected with Malik Nabers for a crucial two-point conversion in the fourth quarter that gave LSU a three-point lead.

Mizzou running back Cody Schrader had a solid day, rushing for 114 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries. He scored twice in the second half, including a one-yard plunge that put Mizzou ahead, 39-35, with 5:40 left in the game.

But Daniels responded with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Nabers on the ensuing drive, capping a six-play, 75-yard march that took only 2:42 off the clock. Mizzou had a chance to tie or take the lead, but LSU safety Major Burns intercepted Brady Cook's pass and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown with 34 seconds remaining, sealing the victory for the Tigers.

LSU improved to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the SEC, while Mizzou fell to 3-3 and 1-2. The Tigers have now won six of their last seven meetings with the Tigers.

The game was a back-and-forth shootout from the start, as both teams combined for 1,044 yards of total offense and 11 touchdowns. Mizzou scored first on an 18-yard pass from Cook to Theo Wease Jr., who also ran for the two-point conversion. LSU answered with a one-yard run by Logan Diggs, but Schrader broke free for a 21-yard touchdown run to give Mizzou a 15-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Mizzou extended its lead to 22-7 on a nine-yard pass from Cook to Brett Norfleet early in the second quarter, but LSU rallied with a touchdown and a field goal before halftime. Mizzou kicker Harrison Mevis added a 50-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, making it 25-17 in favor of Mizzou.

Mizzou Marching Band at Halftime

LSU continued its momentum in the third quarter, as Ramos nailed his second field goal and Daniels hit Thomas Jr. again for a 42-yard touchdown that gave LSU its first lead of the game, 27-25. Schrader scored his second touchdown of the game on a two-yard run to put Mizzou back on top, 32-27, heading into the final quarter.

The fourth quarter was a wild one, as both teams traded touchdowns and big plays. Daniels scored on a 35-yard run and threw to Nabers for the two-point conversion to make it 35-32 for LSU. Schrader answered with his third touchdown of the game on a one-yard run to give Mizzou a 39-35 edge. Daniels then threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game to Nabers, who finished with six catches for 146 yards and two scores. Burns capped off the scoring with his pick-six that sent the LSU fans into a frenzy.

LSU coach Brian Kelly praised his team's resilience and praised Daniels as "one of the best quarterbacks in the country."

"Jayden Daniels is just a warrior. He's tough. He's physical. He's smart. He's skilled. I can't use enough superlatives about him individually."

Mizzou coach Eli Drinkwitz lamented his team's missed opportunities and turnovers, but also gave credit to LSU for making more plays.

Coach Drinkwitz said the teams inability to create turnovers and contain the QB really hurt Mizzou today.

Both teams have SEC matchups next week as LSU hosts Auburn on Oct. 14, while Mizzou will travel to Kentucky.


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